By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
Missouri Western head football coach Matt Williamson has been relieved of his duties Sunday after his sixth year and fifth season at the helm.
Athletic director Andy Carter made the announcement in a press release Sunday afternoon.
"After careful evaluation, we determined that a new direction was needed to help secure the future success of the program," said Carter. "We appreciate the service, commitment, and dedication that Matt, his family, and coaching staff have given to Missouri Western."
The Griffons closed the 2022 season Saturday with a 41-0 win over Lincoln, bringing their record to 5-6 on the year. It's the first losing season for Western since 2017, which was Williamson's inaugural season.
The five opponents that Missouri Western beat this season had a combined record of 15-40. The only team Western beat this season that finished above .500 was Central Oklahoma, who finished 6-5.
Without a season in 2020 due to COVID-19, Williamson concludes his tenure with a 31-26 record, and a 29-26 mark in MIAA play.
He led the Griffons to Live United Bowl victories in 2018 and '19, peaking with a 9-3 record in 2019. Williamson led the Griffons to three straight winning seasons in '18, '19 and again in 2021.
During Williamson's time, Missouri Western never made the playoffs and were 0-5 against top rival Northwest Missouri State. The Griffons were also 2-11 against ranked opponents under Williamson, with wins coming over No. 5 Fort Hays State in 2018 and then 25th-ranked Hays in '19.
A three-time All-MIAA defensive lineman at Missouri Western, Williamson began his coaching career with the Griffons as a graduate assistant in 1997. He returned as defensive line coach, special teams coordinator and defensive coordinator from 2000-06.
He then went to Central Arkansas, first as defensive line and special teams coordinator from 2007-09 and then as defensive coordinator from 2010-2013.
Williamson was then Stephen F. Austin's defensive coordinator from 2014-2016 before taking over his alma mater's program in 2017.
Williamson succeeded long time head football coach Jerry Partridge, who coached the Griffons from 1997-2016. Partridge led Missouri Western to a 149-83 record during that time - a tenure that included an MIAA championship in 2012 and four total playoff berths.
A national search for the next Missouri Western head football coach will begin immediately, according to the release.
Carter will address the public on this decision during the Missouri Western coaches' luncheon at Hi-Ho Bar and Grill in St. Joseph on Monday, November 14 at noon central. The luncheon will be broadcast live on JoeTown 107.5 FM and 1550 AM.
You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.